At the end of her show Margaret Cho pulls onstage a pianist and a guitar player and sings: “I wanna kill my rapist.”
Everything Cho says is grounded in her experience and everything is true. Not mawkish, not self indulgent, not sentimental, not angry but searingly astonishingly real.
Her voice is sweet and strong, her face child-like and you know this is true and this is raw. Cho recently hacked off her long hair in a music video as she declared war on the man who raped her as a child. Now she stands before us, unafraid, completely open, damaged but unbowed. It’s an unexpectedly moving end to a skillful and classy hour and a half of comedy.
Cho, with shorn hair, leather pants and a red “Gorgeous” T shirt has a touch of rock star glamour about her. She’s hung out with Joan Rivers and Robin Williams and partied with Anna Nicole Smith. And she’s part of the gang of funny women currently winning at television and lighting up Hollywood. She’s attracted a devoted partisan crowd who gasp at the subject matter and whoop up the punchlines. There is, as they say, a lot of love in the room.
Her comedy is personal, political and fearless. Race, bisexuality, drugs, eating disorders all become her playthings. Cho doesn’t hold back from any subject but there is a lightness of touch about everything she does. She can be dirty, silly, outrageous - but she doesn’t rant. The writing and the delivery are controlled and masterful. This is a woman in full command of her craft and the laughs keep rolling along.
She is rightly considered comedy royalty, fiercely original and gob-smackingly good. But what stays with you from this show more than anything is the naked honesty. Everything Cho says is grounded in her experience and everything is true. Not mawkish, not self indulgent, not sentimental, not angry but searingly astonishingly real.